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I have erosion on my lot, so I’ll just build a bulkhead, right?
Probably not. Building a bulkhead requires permits from the City, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, and the Corps of Engineers. You need to prove to all of those agencies that a bulkhead is the only method that will prevent erosion. Here is the reason bulkheads are regulated so heavily: A bulkhead (defined as a vertical wall in contact with the water) completely changes the character of the water’s edge. Instead of the natural condition of sloping very gradually into the lake, a bulkhead makes a sudden dropoff. Believe it or not, there are many important biological processes that happen in the shallow water right at the edge of the lake. Tiny fish live there, safe from larger fish, insects and smaller creatures that feed the fish and birds that live in and around the lake live there, plants along the shoreline drop leaves and insects into the water that provides food, submerged vegetation that grows in the shallow water provides refuge habitat for small fish….all of that changes if you have a bathtub edge instead of a gradual edge. In addition, a typical yard has lawn up to the bulkhead. Lawn fertilizers wash into the lake, adding nutrients that increase algae blooms. Also, any hard surface, including bulkheads and rocks, is undermined by wave action, stirring up sediment to make the lake murkier and eventually leading to the failure of the bulkhead.
If you have erosion on your lot, the best way to prevent it is to re-establish appropriate vegetation: bulrushes in the water, and woody shrubs along the water’s edge. Even better is to leave the natural shoreline vegetation intact if you are lucky enough to have it.

Shoreline

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1. Why are shoreline permits required?
2. If it is a State permit, why don’t I get a permit from the State?
3. Why shouldn’t I cut down the tules in front of my lot?
4. I have erosion on my lot, so I’ll just build a bulkhead, right?
5. It’s a big lake. What I do on my lot doesn’t matter.